This is the time of year when I often get very busy with my work and have little time to spend in the garden or the kitchen (outside work hours). However, making preserves is something I try to find time for no matter what else needs to be done. There is so much produce around at the moment, practically begging to be put in the pot and made into jam or chutney, I can’t ignore it.
One of my most popular preserves is, thankfully, one of the easiest to make, so this weekend I got the large preserving pan out of the cupboard and set about cooking up this year’s first batch of Smoky Tomato Jam. It’s really a smooth chutney, but the texture lends itself better to being called jam. One of the best thing about this particular preserve is that it’s ready to be eaten immediately, as well as being a good “keeper”.
Makes 5 x 325ml jars
- 700g fresh prepared ripe, but firm, tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 350g prepared red onion, roughly chopped
- 550g prepared cooking apples, roughly chopped
- 350ml red wine or cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large sprigs rosemary
- 275g granulated sugar
- 2 tsp each of salt, ground cumin and smoked paprika
- Put the tomatoes and onion in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until well chopped and pulpy. Transfer to a large saucepan.
- Put the apples in the food processor with half the vinegar and blitz for a few seconds until well chopped. Transfer to the saucepan containing the tomato and onion mixture.
- Pour over the remaining vinegar and add the bay leaves and rosemary. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then simmer gently for 10 minutes until softened.
- Stir in the sugar over a low heat, until dissolved, then raise the heat and simmer steadily for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the consistency of thick jam. Turn off the heat, discard the herbs and stir in the salt and spices.
- Ladle into warm, sterilised jars and seal with non-corrosive lids. Allow to cool and store for 6-8 months in a cool, dark cupboard. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. Delicious with all cured meats, smoked fish, and cheese dishes.